Florida Project Pile: Miami Warehouse Finds

limo1

For years, I have heard about a warehouse in Florida that was  damaged by one of the major hurricanes that blew through the area. After some garage doors caved in, it was revealed that there were numerous project cars hidden inside, and eventually other damage forced most of  the collection outdoors. I can’t be sure, but three vehicles for sale by one seller here on eBay may just be part of that weather-exposed find I first read about at least five years ago. Does anyone else recall the story I’m referencing? 

royce2

As you can see in the first photo, one of the cars up for grabs is a vintage Packard Super 8 limousine (more on that in a minute). One the better preserved cars in the collection is a 1979 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, seen here on eBay. There’s a consistent train of thought within each of the seller’s listings which has to do with how quickly you could have one of his cars on the road. Project cars are rarely that simple, and I doubt this long-idled Rolls is going to be a quick repair. There is some rust, with the area of most concern being where the vinyl top meets the body. The seller is looking for $5,900 or best offer.

elcamino2

The lone muscle car up for grabs (well, for the moment – there appears to be lots more hidden in the warehouse that isn’t yet listed) is a 1977 Chevy El Camino here on eBay. Curiously, the El Camino is surrounded by vintage Jaguars and Bentleys, the origin of which is left unsaid. Perhaps they were in the warehouse as well? Regardless, this Chevy trucklet appears to be in solid shape for a project despite missing a rear wheel, but the seller is remedying that with some new/used tires to replace the rears that went flat. I dig the faded paint job, but as with all of this seller’s listings, inspecting the extent of rust issues in person is a must. The asking price is $2,200 or best offer.

limo2

Finally, we return to the Super 8, and you can find the official listing here on eBay. Another classic or two lurks in the background, what do you see? The surface rust is quite extensive and if the traces of primrose yellow paint are original, what a pretty car this must have been. The older Packard limousines do fetch a good price, but the seller’s citation for the Super 8’s production numbers are tough to verify. The convertible of the same model designation is a stunner and has fetched upwards of $50K at auction, so the low $1,800 Buy-It-Now could be a fair ask. Which one would you drag home from Miami?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. DPR

    I could be wrong but i coulda swore i saw this car the on south beach classics tv show, it belonged to one of the employees and they bought off them for $500..

  2. Howard A Member

    The Packard looks as if it was IN the hurricane.( or nuclear blast) Somebody bought it. Sheesh. You’d put 50g’s in a restoration like this. IDK, good luck with that.

    • Andy Frobig

      And these aren’t super sought-after Packards either. They didn’t have a lot of fans in their day.

  3. Capt Doug

    Anyone with a Packard project that can use a lot of parts off the limo would be ecstatic at that price and they don’t even need to store it inside if they don’t have the space.
    Especially the running gear.
    It looks pretty far gone to restore to me and I am not adverse to restoration projects in general.

  4. GaryI

    He said the only muscle car so far is a1977 El Camino. Really? When did people start calling these muscle cars, maybe I wasn’t paying attention.

  5. Blindmarc

    I’d take the el camino.

  6. Chris

    I really like the El Camino, too. Depending on the condition of the interior and the powertrain, the asking price could be reasonable. I would restomod it and make sure it had plenty of ponies under the hood. Oh yeah, and it would have to have Cragar SS wheels.

  7. Cleric

    I like the Elco. Personally, I’d try to source a 1973 Laguna front bumper for it. That, and an LS/4L60 swap and I have a hot little truck!

  8. John

    You may be remembering the Walter Medlin warehouse collapse where he had lots of Ferraris. A quick google search will turn up those images. Hard to forget once seen.

  9. Big Rob

    There are about 50 cars still sitting in a half exposed warehouse in West Palm Beach. The owner, Dave Rupt, has a large collection scattered in several buildings across WPB. This particular one was heavily damaged during hurricane Francis, and rumor has it that he is still battling the insurance companies all these years later. The cars in and around the building are sadly rusting away, and as of yet, nothing is for sale. He even pays a guy to live in an RV on site, to chase people away if they stop to look through the fence. Ask me how I know.

    • Jeff Staff

      Rob, that is exactly who I am thinking of! I’m 99% sure we’ve even documented it on this very site. Is he a hoarder or is he trying to get top dollar from the insurance co by showing how dilapidated the cars have become due to their unwillingness to pay him out? Interesting story either way, made even more so by the guy in the RV!

      • Big Rob

        Jeff, there are more rumors than can be counted about this building and the cars. When my friends and I first came across it about 10 years ago, the word on the street was that the owner was a hoarder, and he would rather let the cars rot into the ground than sell one. We, like everyone else, bought into that. After all, it did seem logical. A few years later, I got to meet the man, and was told about the insurance situation. It is amazing how these big companies have so much power to screw any of us over. When this does finally get settled, he will sell what’s left of the cars. Hopefully it will be before the sun and salt down here destroy them completely.

  10. Bill McCoskey

    As someone who has first hand experience at being screwed by insurance companies after a “act of God” disaster, and who has spent 3 decades working with attorneys, judges & state/county insurance regulators, I can tell you will all confidence that it may well be the insurance company keeping everything tied up for long periods of time in an attempt to get Mr. Rupt to give up & settle for a pittance. They know time is on their side, and with their deep pockets compared to the insured party, They will keep their in house legal staff working to extend court cases, hearings, etc., for year after year.

    Since this man was never charged with a crime [like claiming the vehicles were more valuable], it’s unlikely he’s at fault. You can be sure that if the insurance company can keep from paying a claim by exposing fraud, they WILL contact the authorities.

  11. brakesevo

    After 37 years in the insurance industry in various capacities, I’d have to see it’s been a very rare (maybe 3 or 4 times in nearly 40 years) that I’ve seen an insurance conscientiously try to screw a! policyholder! There have been a number of situations that might have looked like skulduggery on the part of the insurance company, usually it is a case of the policyholder not understanding what they paid for or sometimes it’s gross incompetence on the part of the insurance company’s claims handler. Whether right or not, sometimes a policyholder has to argue on their own behalf due to the incompetence, but it was not an attempt to “screw” someone per se.’ Personally, I’d love to see an insurance company try to screw me – I’d sue ’em for bad faith and if I’m right, I’ll win! I don’t think the insurance companies are the entirely evil entities most people paint them to be – usually it’s policy holders unhappy with what they agreed to at the time they paid for the insurance.

    • Bill McCoskey

      I agree that in the great scheme of things, the actual percentage of deceit cases is quite low. But as a court qualified transportation expert for 40 years, I’ve seen some “interesting” cases.To wit;

      In 1968 Mr S, an American working in Germany, buys a new Ford Mustang fastback. Years later, both car & owner now living in the USA, the Mustang is totaled when struck in the rear at high speed. The insurance company is the same for both cars. The adjuster hasn’t a clue what he’s looking at, and gives an incorrect value. Mr S sues the insurance company.

      I get involved, and appraise the car at a far higher price. The attorney for the Insurance company attacks my appraisal by using a well known appraisal book; The NADA guide. He showed in the guide that the GT fastback had a certain value. I agreed, but pointed out that this car was not a GT, but a very rare standard fastback, and also having been sold new in Germany, it was a Ford T5, not a Ford Mustang. It was also a 6 cylinder car with floor shift & bench seat.

      When pressed about why it would not be included in the NADA book, I explained it was too rare. When he objected to my statement, as I would not be familiar with how NADA put together their guide, I directed him to look at the front of the book, and specifically the section for the NADA Advisory group, where my name was listed.

      The judge quickly accepted me as knowing what I was talking about. The attorney, now pissed off, tossed the heavy NADA book about 6 feet to his table. Landing on a few papers, it slid across the desk on them, and down onto the floor next to the car owner’s feet. On picking up the book & papers, he noticed a memo from the insurance company, underlined & highlited, telling their attorney not to bring up that the car is a T5. [The owner, not liking the T5 designation, put regular Mustang emblems on the car when they returned to the USA.]

      Needless to say, the car’s owner prevailed in the case, and the judge added a higher monetary amount far larger than the actual car value, for failure to disclose crucial details that affected the case outcome.

      • pbryantr

        Wow! I love this story. Do you have more stories like this one?
        I wonder if the car’s owner changed insurance carriers afterwards.

  12. stan

    they all appear to be some of the left over/ overflow of Ted Vernon of South Beach Classics, if you have seen his show, the Packard was bought from one of his employee’s

  13. Reginald Bruce

    A double WOW!! to these comments and information about the automobile insurance business.
    How about paying Bill McCoskey to be a regular contributor to this site?

    Reg B.

    Like 1
  14. brakeservo

    Hi Bill, We’ve corresponded quite a few times before – as you may remember, you may have been the owner of my old GAZ 13 Chaika before I was. Now, to the insurance issue at hand, there are some points I don’t understand in your example above.

    Let’s see if I understand this, Mr. S get’s rear ended by someone else, let’s call him Z. Both S and Z and insured by the same company. So, Mr. S has two options regarding his claim, 1) he can present a liability claim against Z for the damage he has caused and try to collect under Z’s policy. In this case, the insurance company owes him the either the repair costs or the value of his car, whichever is less plus reasonable loss of use for either the time it takes to fix the car. Or, Mr. S can 2) Make a claim under his own policy with the insurance company in which case he will a) incur the deductible and b) not collect anything for loss of use. In this case again, he is only entitled to the lesser of the cost of repairs or the value of his vehicle.

    In the first scenario if he and the insurance company cannot agree to the value of his car, his option is to sue the responsible driver, not his insurance company. Not likely to happen as Mr. S also has to shoulder his attorney fees and litigation costs, so unless it’s an extremely valuable car, it’s not worth the legal expenses, although in some jurisdictions he might be able to also recover his costs if his suit is successful. But he sues the driver, not the insurance company.

    In the second scenario, if Mr. S makes a claim under his own policy and is unable to reach an agreement as to the value of his car, his only option is to request arbitration, in which case the process will involve him hiring an appraiser at this expense to document the value of the car, and the insurance company will have to hire an independent appraiser to establish a value. If the two appraisers don’t agree, then the appraisers work through the process to come to an agreement. There’s no place for ‘additional damages’ due to the disagreement between the parties so I cannot fathom what happened in the scenario you describe because Mr. S is still unable to “sue” his insurance company unless he brings a bad faith action asserting that the company completely violated it’s obligations under the contract. But it’s a process that can take months if not years and the legal costs are significant.

    And getting back to the scenario you outlined, Mr. S, the owner is only entitled to the lesser of the cost of repairs or value of his car no matter which way he proceeds. That the car was an unusual export model is irrelevant unless it can be shown that it is actually significantly more valuable because in the real world, real buyers will pay more for it, and for that issue, I don’t have objective or verifiable knowledge – that would have to be demonstrated by prior verified comparable sales. I suppose it’s possible that an export model might actually be worth less in America and if that were the case, then the insurance company is entitled to pay the lesser amount.

  15. brakeservo

    With all due respect, I think Mr. McCoskey simply misunderstood what actually happened, he describes a scenario that I’ve simply never ever seen in nearly 40 years of dealing with disputed and litigated claims. I’m no apologist for the insurance industry, but in the current regulatory environment it’s pretty hard for an insurance company to “screw” a car owner simply because they feel like doing it. The risks are too great – there are entire law practices devoted to prosecuting bad faith claims against insurance companies – it’s part of the system of checks and balances.

  16. Bill McCoskey

    I came into this case at the tail end. I do know it had been at least 5 years since the accident. The owner was a rather eccentric man, a former nuclear engineer who did power plant design. This was in Washington DC, a “no fault state”. If you’ve ever done expert witness testimony, you will know that witnesses are typically not allowed to be in the courtroom except when called to testify. So I cannot bring any other info on the case as I was not privy to it.

    My role came about because I had serviced the car for years, and knew how rare and valuable T5 cars are. The insurance company’s appraiser [who didn’t even know what a T5 was] said the car was worth about $1,200. My appraisal was for $6,500. The case came to head about 1990. I don’t know all the details of this convoluted case, but I do remember hearing it had been dismissed [for reasons unknown to me] in the past.

    It’s my own personal opinion that Mr. S, acting like a boil on an ass cheek, had infuriated the insurance company to no end with frivolous claims over the years, and they were determined not to let him win, at any cost.

    As to scenario #1, I haven’t a clue about the other driver/vehicle. The case I was involved in was Mr. S as a plaintiff against the Insurance company.

    The value of the vehicle was a significant part of the claim. ANY T5 Ford, especially 1965 to 68 versions, are highly collected in both the US & Europe. Most 1968 T5 cars were coupes or convertibles, not fastbacks. Mustangs with unusual trim variants or options always bring higher values. A 1968 T5 fastback, 6 cylinder/4 speed, with bench seat, is so rare, it was probably the only one produced.

    I knew about T5 cars having lived in Germany in the early 1970s, where I used to see them available for order new, at the US military facilities. When I first began working on this particular car, I noticed the different steering wheel horn ring without the mustang image. That’s when Mr. S told me of it’s unique history. I was able to find the original build sheet [on top of the glove box liner if memory serves me right], and it was clear it was an export car [90 or 95 code I think], and it had the T5 order numbers.

    My whole point in talking about this court case was to show that the insurance company and their attorney knew the car was a T5, yet they continued to deny it was anything other than a regular GT fastback, until they realized I knew what I was talking about and was able to prove it. I was not in the courtroom when Mr. S showed his attorney the proof the insurance company knew it was a T5, so I can only relate what I heard second hand; when the attorney decided to introduce it as evidence, the judge demanded to see the paper before he became “furious with rage” — Mr. S’s words, not mine.

  17. Blindmarc

    Love this story, and I’d be more than happy to remove the guy with the rv from the property…..I’m about 100 miles north… Just saying….

  18. brakeservo

    Bill – thank you for sharing your experience and I don’t mean to denigrate it or you at all but as you’ve said, you had only seen bits and pieces of the whole affair, and even the report that the judge became “furious with rage” was second-hand information from the person most deeply and intimately involved with the dispute, the car owner himself who is anything but an impartial witness. So, we don’t really know “for sure” that the insurance company knew the Mustang was a T-5, and that a T-5 was significant, and that the insurance company tried to hide the fact since all this has come from the mouth of the car owner who wasn’t satisfied with the handling of his claim. I don’t deny that these things happen, my point is that when claims are mis-handled it is most frequently due to incompetence on the part of the claims handler – I could write pages about my experiences with two Bentleys I’ve owned over the years that were damaged by the negligence of a third party and how terribly the insurance companies involved initially handled the claims, simply because their adjusters were “in over their heads.” Maybe that was the case with the T-5 Mustang too, I don’t know but I do know in my case, it was not simply the insurance company “trying to screw me.” Although wrong, they at least thought they were correct with their initial efforts. Fortunately I know enough that I was able to show conclusively how and why they were wrong. And that is simply my point – it was not a ‘malevolent bad insurance company’ trying to screw someone, but instead it was an ignorant or incompetent claims adjuster who couldn’t properly grasp all the relevant issues at hand. In short I was dealing with idiots and it happens too frequently in every aspect of life.

  19. mtshootist1

    I had a major insurance company try and screw me one time, my son totaled my 86 Toyota Celica when a deer hit the car, he was in college at the time. So, I cosigned on a loan for a newer Ford Focus, if I remember correctly, ten days later, he totals the Ford, by making a left hand turn in front of a Suburban, The insurance company had paid me for the Toyota, but I had to prove to them that it was worth more than the paltry sum they intended to give me, so I gathered various Toyota Celicas that were that year, or close to that year, and clipped out the ads, and gave them to the adjuster. then the next accident, I was not informed by my insurance agent that the ford as a replacement for the wrecked Toyota was automatically covered under MT law as a replacement vehicle, since I cosigned the loan, that made it a legitimate claim, but I had to go to the Insurance Commissioner to find out. They eventually paid off the 10K loan, they were not happy. They eventually and slowly eliminated all the insurance on my other vehicles, including my RV, and then as a final coup de grace canceled my home owner’s insurance when I had a major water line burst on my washing machine while I was away on a government TDY. with the sorry excuse that I was not living in my home at the time, even though I had a friend taking care of the place. So, yes, they try to screw you for even paltry amounts of money.

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